Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Garlic Bread Grilled Tomato Sandwich

Along with the rest of the United States, Canada, the UK, and perhaps most of the rest of the world, I adore a good grilled cheese sandwich.  The other day we had young friend and his mother to dinner, and said young friend asked the food blogger, "But tell me just how you get a grilled cheese cooked nicely?  No matter what I do, one side burns and the other side's got nada." (Answer:  Don't flash-fry it. Have patience.)  In bookstores (of which there are few except Barnes and Noble or Garrison Keillor's new store, Common Good Books, on Snelling--just a few blocks from my house), there are truly books all about grilled cheese.  Could that be?  Are things out of kilter in the cookbook world? Or are grilled cheese that high up on the menu list?

Upon closer study, Grilled Cheese, Please is written by very well-respected cheese expert Laura Werlin.  This tells me even more about where grilled cheese sandwiches sit on the food pyramid.  And looking even further, there are actually other books on grilled cheese.  (Don't look now, but there's a book on twinkies, too.)   If, BTW, you'd like to read a good review, look no further than my friend girlichef.

But alas and alack there are no books on grilled tomato sandwiches.  None.  Zip. Zero. Hello?  I'm very fond of grilled tomato sandwiches, albeit until yesterday there were (at my house) grilled cheese AND tomato or grilled cheese AND tomato AND bacon.  Yesterday the grilled tomato sandwich earned it's rightful place in my kitchen because, yes folks, a garlic bread grilled tomato sandwich is something to be reckoned with.  As I looked and pondered lunch that needed to include tomatoes (they're everywhere), I thought I'd just have an old-fashioned tomato-mayonnaise on white.  With salt, thanks.  But, oh what the heck, why not grill it?  And then:  why not grill it with garlic?  Make grilled garlic bread right there in the pan while it cooked?  And do leave a bit on mayonnaise on?

This sandwich was so good I made one for Dave for dinner.  Of course, great tomatoes and sturdy, delicious bread ( I used a French boule from Whole Foods that was on sale for $2.99 and will make great French toast or pain perdu in a few days.) were key ingredients.  The bread really needs to be of the firm, rustic variety or the tomato juices will simply run right through.  Even a bit of going-stale baguette (with crust trimmed) would work fine.  The ingredients are everything in cooking, but they matter more and more the fewer of them there are.  No real recipe needed, follow the pics and may your juices dribble:

Heat 2t each butter, olive oil and minced garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat for 2 minutes.+

Slice yourself a thick (1/2" - 1") slice off a large tomato. Salt and pepper it.

Spread 1/2 teaspoon mayo++ on each of two slices of rustic bread and place them clean side down in the pan.

Place the tomato on one piece of bread, but let both pieces toast a minute or so.

Once a bit toasted, move the empty slice of bread on top of the tomato.

Weigh down with a foil-covered brick or a grill press.*

Grill until toasty on first side, remove grill press, turn, and replace grill press.  Let cook until other side is toasty.

Cut in half, et voila, dinner is served.

Get a good picture.  You cooked a beautiful sandwich!
+Use only olive oil for vegan option.
++Use vegan mayo for vegan option
*Grill press can be replaced with a foil-covered brick or even a pan with a heavy can in it.  You can also do without it.

--Did I mention that you might want to brush your teeth after lunch?  (Not too soon, though...)

--Wine?  I liked a sip of Washington Chardonnay with this, but you might like to dunk this sandwich into a nice wide glass full of Chianti if it's past five somewhere.

if you liked this, you might also like my linguini caprese on more time ( or all about the Little Shop of Horrors tomato plants in Alyce's yard)...there's also the capability to watch Robert Heinz' "Tomato Song" as you needed music today, right?

P.S.  Today we're thinking about 9-11 all over our country.  Prayers for peace always, friends.

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself,


  1. I've never seen just a grilled tomato sandwich. As you noted, there are ususally other ingredients involved. But I love this idea and I have some fresh farmer's market tomatoes, so I'll have to give it a try!

  2. @ Linda: We are IN LOVE with this sandwich. We're out to dinner tonight with a friend or we'd have it again. Thanks for faithful reading!


Love hearing from you! If you don't have gmail or a blog, you can choose "anonymous" from the comment pull-down menu. Sign your name within the comment box if you'd like. Thanks, Alyce